Beginning Flames

Family I Never Knew

The next day, I relaxed in the detective agency, sitting on the couch. I was recuperating from the Eggman assault. Though, no matter how much peace and quiet there was in the office, I couldn't get my brain to turn off about what happened the previous night. There was too much buzzing in my brain to even try to comprehend what happened. I tried endlessly to put all the pieces together, but they never seemed to fit.

I still don't understand it! How can I not piece together what happened?! I feel like I need a vacation...

"CHY!" I blinked a couple of times before coming back to reality. Charmy had been wanting something, poking at my shoulder. "Why won't you answer?!"

"Oh, I'm sorry, Charmy," I said. "Did you say something?"

"I was just asking if you wanted to go out and build a snowman or something."

"Oh, uh, no thanks."

"Why not? Scared of the snow?"

"Charmy, leave her be," Espio said in his meditation pose, sitting on the floor cross-legged. He opened an eye to look at us. "What happened last night was very new to her."

"And no matter how many ways I put it," I said, "or how many times I try to fit it together, it doesn't make any sense. I don't think I can piece it together..."

"Try not to think about it too much. You might go a bit crazy trying to find the answer."

"Yeah, Kid, relax a little," Vector said as he leaned his chair back. "Loosen up."

There was a knock at the door. "I got it!" Charmy called and flew right to the door. He opened it and then shouted, "ZEPHYR'S HERE!"

"CHARMY, DON'T YELL!" Vector shouted.

Between Charmy and Vector, the croc gives me more of a headache...

"There's always something new with the Chaotix crew," Zephyr said as he sat down next to me. "You know, I heard this really loud explosion last night."

Uh-oh...! "Really?" I asked as I turned back to Zephyr.

"Yeah, and when I went to check it out, the trees in the area looked like they were blown away. Silver was there, too. He said that you guys were involved in a scrape with Eggman." He took my hands into his. "I just wanted to make sure if you were alright."

I felt my face starting to burn. "Uh, yeah, We're alright. I-I'm fine." I looked away from him, mildly embarrassed. "Just fine."

I heard Vector starting to snicker as he stood behind me. "What's the matter, Kid?" he smugly asked. "Cat got your tongue?"

I quickly moved my leg for a kick at his shin, but I think I got his kneecap instead. I didn't bother to look where I got him; his groaned pain was good enough for me. "So, Zephyr," I said, trying to change the subject. "Other than checking up on us tough-as-nails detectives, what brings you by?"

"Oh, well, I figured if you're not busy," the wolf started, "there's this place that I think you'd like to see, especially at night. You wanna go check it out? That is if you want to."

"Uh, sure. I'd love to." I think I know what he's trying to do... He's trying some kind of romantic move...! I'll have to keep a close eye on what he does, and wait.

"Great. I'll see ya later, then." He smiled, then got up and left. My heart pounded wildly in my chest like bongo drums. I couldn't figure out what it was about him that made me like him. I had the gut feeling that I was gonna find out.


I decided to take a little cat nap on the couch. Next thing I knew, I was asleep for six hours. I was asleep from 2 in the afternoon to 8 in the evening - my brain seemed to have finally cooled down enough for me to relax. It was also around the time that Zephyr came back to get me for the 'evening outing,' as I'm calling it. He buttoned up his jacket, but I'm sure that a light, yet sturdy jacket might not have been enough to keep him warm. Plus, he still wasn't wearing any shoes or gloves, which had made me question him a little more...

The night was actually clear, a half-moon shining brightly amongst the diamondesque stars. Walking next to the timberwolf, I glanced at the snow-covered trees as a light breeze made the bare branches quiver in the cold. As we walked, I felt Zephyr stepping closer to me.

"It's really lovely out here," he spoke. "You know, back in my hometown, you'd never see a sky like this. It'd always be cloudy or snowing." He looked at me, a smile on his face. "Would you ever see a night this nice in the winter?"

"Uh, no," I said. "Not that I can remember." Move over a few steps, buddy. You're in my bubble.

"Then I guess it's something new for both of us." He paused, stopping in his tracks. I stopped a couple of steps and looked back at him. "Listen. Before we get to our destination... I've been thinking about this for a while, and..."

Here it comes. The classic cliché of declaring your love.

"I know that you hear this a lot, but you're smart, tough, easy on the eyes. You're, like, the total package."

Ugh, kill me now, PLEASE...!

"Uh, I guess what I'm trying to say is-"

"Oh ho, back again I see, and you have company." Do you know how the enemy always and consistently comes back to try to kill you? Well, this happened to be one of those times. Eggman had appeared again.

Thank god! The perfect distraction!

"Ugh, what do you want, Eggman?" Zephyr asked in annoyance.

"Oh, I thought I'd check up on the young lady after my latest attempt to obtain her power had gone awry," Eggman answered, then clenched his teeth. "And she was more stubborn than I first thought."

"Power?" The timberwolf looked at me, then back at the evil scientist. "What are you talking about?"

"You mean you don't know? Why she-"

"Shut it, Eggface!" I yelled. "Just go away and leave us alone!"

"EGGFACE?! WELL GUESS WHAT, LITTLE MISSY, YOU'RE DETECTIVE PALS AREN'T HERE TO SAVE YOUR HIDE THIS TIME!" A malicious smile spread upon his face. "And this time, there will be no mistakes." From under his little carrier, two robot claws came out, ready for action. "Now, are you going to come quietly, or are we going to have to do this the hard way?"

Zephyr stood protectively in front of me, pulling me back. "Get away as fast as you can," he whispered. "I'll handle him."

"Do I look like a damsel in distress?" I asked with sass in my voice, arms crossed.

"Just trust me and go." He lunged forward, and he and Eggman's robot claws went at it.

I've got to find a way to help him without revealing my powers. But how? I glanced around, and the idea was so obvious that I couldn't believe I didn't start doing it right away. I made a whole bunch of snowballs and started throwing them at Eggman, and that made the evil genius more than peeved. That made him so mad that he swung one of his robot claws at me and it sent me flying into a tree. My vision was fuzzy for a moment, but I could have sworn I saw blue lightning striking at Eggman and his carrier. When my vision finally cleared, Zephyr was unconscious, literally in the claws of the enemy. But I noticed black wings had extended from his back. Those wings look just like...

"Now to take care of you once and for all," Eggman declared as he started floating away with a zonked out timberwolf.

"Hey! Let him go!" I called as I went after him. He sped up as I tried getting close to him. "I said let him go!"

"Oh, I'll let him go, alright."

That's never a good thing to hear...!

Eggman abruptly stopped, the claw extending, holding Zephyr's limp body over the edge of a cliff. I glanced down and saw very cold ocean water and what looked like pointed, jagged rocks. And that made me worried. "Last chance," he sang. "You can either give yourself up and your friend will be left unharmed, or he can take a little flight down into the icy waters of Hell."

I've gotta trick him somehow. But what can I do or say to him to make him believe me?

"Look, Eggy," I said, "remember what you said about us being the same? Well, I thought a lot about what you said, and as it turns out, you were right. I should have listened to you the first time. My bad. I just hope we could put what happened the other night behind us, team up, and we could get started on building your glorious Eggman Empire. What do you say?" Please let him buy it. Please let him buy it.

"Hmm... You make a persuasive point."

YES!

"However, you're a terrible liar." He started letting go of Zephyr, the timberwolf's limp body unknowingly ready to take a fatal plunge.

"NO!" I jumped onto the carrier, trying to grab control of it. Of course, Egghead tried pulling the controls away from me. As we struggled over the controls, Zephyr's body started to slip from the open claw. I quickly jumped off the little carrier, landing near the cliff's edge, and grabbed onto the timberwolf's arm with both hands, trying to pull him up.

"I hope you and Zephyr enjoy your swim!" Eggman declared.

I was suddenly forcefully pushed forward, and both Zephyr and I were falling to what might have been our deaths. I quickly grabbed onto him, wrapping my arms from behind him, his wings still extended out. I was hoping to try to shift us away from the jagged rocks that came closer and closer, but the effort seemed to be in vain. I feared that this would be the last time either of us would see the light of day. But we somehow managed to scrape by just in the nick of the time, landing in the cold, cold water. With all my strength, I was able to keep our heads out of the water and swam us to the beach. I have to admit, dragging a limp body across the ocean was a bit of hard work.

I heard coughing as I laid on the sand panting my butt off. He was alright, I thought. I did good.

"Cheyenne... why am I all wet?" I heard Zephyr ask.

"Let's just say that you and I went for a little swim," I answered between pants. "All thanks to Doctor frigging Eggman."

"And... why do you have wings?"

Wings?

"Yes, wings. White ones, in fact."

I tried looking at my back and, sure enough, I did have small, white wings with four little claws on each of them.

"Now I get it." I looked at him. "Now it all makes sense."

"What makes sense?"

"Are ya stupid? You're Reshiram's daughter!"

"Well, you have wings, too!" I pointed out. "Black ones! And I remember seeing them on that Tao Dragon crest! You're Zekrom!"

"What?! I'm not Zekrom!"

"You have to be! Otherwise you wouldn't have those wings or be throwing blue lightning around!"

His eyes went wide. "Y-You saw that?!"

I stood on my feet, peering down at the timberwolf. "Yes, I saw that! My vision may have been screwed up for a moment, but I know lightning when I see it!"

The timberwolf then stood up, trying to stare me down. "Look here, little girl, I'm not Zekrom and that is that!"

"Don't give me that crap!"

"I'm telling the truth! If I were Zekrom, I'd be human, not Mobian!"

Wait a moment. When I first met Arceus, he was human. So Zephyr isn't Zekrom after all.

"See? I told you!"

"Would you quit reading my damn thoughts?! That's gotta be an invasion of my privacy!"

He crossed his arms. "How long?"

"Beg pardon?"

"How long have you been like this?"

"Since autumn, but what does that have to do with-"

"Not training."

I let out a sigh. "My whole life, apparently, but I didn't find out until late in the summer."

He stood there a moment, studying me. Then he closed his eyes and slowly shook his head. "And to think..." he muttered. He looked back at me. "You've lost not only a friend but also my respect."

That hit me like a bullet went through my heart. "What do you mean?"

"Can't you read minds?"

I shook my head.

"Well then, I'll tell you. You've lost my respect because you've been leading me on for months. I've always thought you were this shy, timid girl. But to think that you're my cousin-"

"Wait, what? 'Cousin?'"

"Don't you remember me telling you that Reshiram and Zekrom are brothers?"

I shook my head once more.

"Well, they are, and we are cousins. My point is my feelings were betrayed before, and when I first saw you, I thought that I could trust the world again. And now, you've made the world rear its ugly head once more. I hope you have a nice life." And with that, he turned his back to me, hands in his pants pockets, and started walking away.

I didn't know what to say. I didn't think there was anything left to be said. It was good that he was walking away because my eyes started filling with tears, even though I looked at the ground as soon as his back turned to me.

Great. Just fucking great. First Blaze is pissed at me, and now Zephyr is. I didn't even know that I had any cousins on Mobius. I thought he was just another nice guy, and my life was turning into a Harem anime. I wiped away some of the tears that were falling. Boy, I really screwed up. If I had told him that I saved his life, he wouldn't have-

"What was that?"

I glanced up and Zephyr had stopped several feet, looking back at me.

"You... saved my life?"

I looked back at the ground. "Why are you still here?"

"Not only can I read minds, I can read feelings, too." The sound of footsteps approached until I saw a pair of familiar humanesque feet stop in front of mine. "Now what do you mean that you saved my life?"

I explained what happened after he went unconscious. After I finished, I asked, "But what do you care? You practically said that I hurt your feelings."

"But that was before-" He took a deep breath. "Look, I'm sorry. I went through a really bad breakup about a year ago, and I guess I still hadn't quite gotten over it."

I glanced up but wasn't convinced. "Really?"

"And the honest-to-god truth: she broke it off with me. I was just looking for someone to understand what I was going through a couple of years back, and I thought I found the one. But when this came out..." He gestured to his wings, moving them up and down a little. "She immediately said, 'We're through,' and I never saw her again since then."

"So when you saw me," I started, "you thought that I would be more of the understanding kind."

He nodded his head. "Exactly."

I uttered a small giggle. "I guess in a weird, twist-of-fate kind of way, you did."

A smile came on Zephyr's face. "I guess I did. So..." He paused, then held out a hand. "Forgive and forget?"

I stood there for a moment, thinking it over. Then I took his hand in mine, and we shook on it.

"Alright, then." He started shivering. "Hey, aren't you cold?"

"No," I said. "Not even after falling into the water."

He chuckled through chattering teeth. "Immortals with the Inferno Element rarely ever freeze." He let out a sneeze, some snot running down his nose.

"Come on, let's head back. I'm sure the guys are going ballistic thinking I disappeared again."

We walked through the cold, wintery night. But for some odd reason, aside from the fire kept within me, the winter didn't seem so cold.

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